Sode Kite Roof-Top Escapades
A large mass of low gray cloud had just passed over, accompanied by a freshening of the gusty light breeze through our back yard.
MBK 2-Skewer Sode
Aren and I had taken out the 58cm (23") 2-Skewer
Sode for a spot of white-knuckle roof-top flying. Flying over
the roof-top that is, not from it! As it turned out, the kite did end
up dragged into the gutter a couple of times, but it escaped
We both had turns flying while the other took some
video on the camera. The last clip showed the kite being flown
several meters over the roof, before a lull forces a pull-in of line.
Which resulted in a nice close-up of the bright orange Sode as it
floated down past the gutter and then hovered over our side lawn in a
fortuitous puff of air.
One of the dangers was getting the
loop tail caught on the TV aerial, but the Sode managed to evade that
one. Another danger was swirling air looping the kite onto the roof
tiles. That did happen once! On another occasion, Aren allowed the
kite to sink out onto the flat veranda. But each time it was
possible to gently prise the kite out of the gutter after it got
pulled there by the flying line.
The 2-Skewer Sode kite is now
safely back on the wall in the living-room.
On this site, there's more kite-making info than you can poke a stick at :-) Want to know the most convenient way of using it all?
The Big MBK E-book Bundle is a collection of downloads - printable PDF files which provide step-by-step instructions for many kites large and small.
Every kite in every MBK series.
Pint-Size Peter Powell Pilot
Nine year old Aren
spent most of the time on the handles this afternoon, in moderate to
fresh winds. Rather gusty and inconsistent too. The Peter Powell Sky
Master MkIII did everything from barely hang in the air to
accelerating strongly away in any desired direction. Aren has seen me
land the kite off to one side, and today he very competently
performed his own landing on the damp grass.
gets faster all the time with this stunt kite. Familiarity speeds
things up and a little trick comes in handy too... Reversing the
handles allows the lines to pull straight off them when backing away
from the rigged kite. You could jog backwards and it would
I flew first for a couple of minutes. It was
immediately clear that we had forgotten something - the loooong
tubular tail! After landing the kite we rectified that situation
before Aren took the handles for a while. He had fun doing daring
Vertical Eights and generally flying around at all heights.
had to struggle at times to keep the kite under control during lulls
in the breeze. In fact, he needed a re-launch once or twice. At other
times he enjoyed ample line tension, but somewhat short of the
heaviest he has ever experienced. There was a time down at the beach
when this kite nearly made him lose his footing! It's on video, in an
old old FB post.
Big Delta Climbs Out - Only Just
Looking out the window at home, it seemed like the
breeze was gusting into the mid-twenties (kph). A spur-of-the-moment
decision saw us down at a large school oval with the huge Multi-Dowel
Delta kite. About 4.8m (16ft) from tip to tip. Actually, we had it
rigged for higher winds today, which reduces the wing span a
Giving Aren (8) the camera, I soon had the big kite
wallowing around close to the ground. With every little puff of extra
air, I let out line so the kite moved out across the grass.
Eventually, on 30m (100 feet) of line the kite was allowed to sit
back and rather slowly climb out to full height. There wasn't really
as much breeze as expected! So the leading edge spars could have been
spread out further for a tighter sail. But never mind. Once up, the
kite was holding height easily.
Next, more line was let out.
60 meters (200 feet) now. Again, the huge blue Delta took its time
re-gaining height and line angle. But it was flying smooth up there,
well clear of the rough air from houses and trees upwind.
having just a few more minutes available before being due back home,
we climbed the kite up on 90 meters (300 feet). Nice! I took some
video at this point since Aren was able to hang on to the flying line. Despite the size,
this kite never pulls more than a few kilos.
wind meter had been whirring away on its little tripod. 5kph average
with a max gust to 10.6kph. Fairly light, although the Delta had
probably felt the occasional gust in the mid to high teens, high
A short outing but it was good seeing the large light-wind
Delta doing its thing at almost 300 feet above the grass.
Dowel Diamond At Dusk
This was somewhat spur-of-the-moment, but it
turned out extremely well. The weather reports for the following week
were dismal. Definitely time to grab a kite and head outside while
flying was still possible!
With the sun just below the horizon the sky above
was darkening by the minute. The most subtle puffs of breeze
were tickling the fronds of neighbors' trees.
Several attempts were made to get the Diamond kite
into the air. By sitting it up against the side-lawn fence, backing
off then pulling in line quickly to get the kite just above roof
height. No luck. Not a chance of even maintaining height, it seemed.
Next, a similar approach was tried on the rear
lawn, which offered more room to tow up. This was more promising.
Also a little more exciting since it involved navigating the kite
over the roof on one side and a large peach tree on the other!
By now, Aren was helping by sitting the kite up
against the fence for each tow-up, and also by timing the flights on
his stop watch. Fun stuff for an 8-year-old.
Finally, some line tension materialized as the
kite soared to about twice roof height. From there, it was easy to
slip out a few more meters of the 20 pound Dacron and let the pale
orange Diamond gently climb back up to around 50 degrees of angle
As the minutes ticked by, the darkness deepened
but it was still easy to see the kite overhead. Responding to every
little wind shift and gentle gust. Boosted at times to over 60
degrees of angle, on about 20 meters (70 feet) of line.
An airliner approached, way above, landing lights
ablaze and red / green tip lights glowing brightly. It passed
overhead several thousand feet up. Around the same time, a bright
star peeked through the cloud cover, reminding us that we were flying
well after sun-down.
What a magic flight! After Aren called out '10
minutes!', we brought the kite down. Flying from small back yards
definitely has its charms...
Big Sled, Little Rok
There was a window of only half an hour or so to
get out and fly something in the late afternoon. 6 year old Aren
actually volunteered to fly too. Although he features on a number of
pages on this site, he hasn't been a keen kiter in recent times. His
Mum's smart phone has its attractions you see! Anyway...
Out at the school reserve, the Southerly was
fairly unobstructed. No tall trees on the upwind side of the field.
This was good for the Dowel Sled, which is very picky about the air
it flies in. Aren had the 2-Skewer Rokkaku on a 20 pound line, while
I flew the Sled on the 50 pound line.
Aren was soon complaining about the line pull on
the Rok. Although smooth, the breeze was gusting up close to moderate
strength at times, up around 100 feet off the grass. This was pushing
the Rok fairly hard. Mind you, Aren has ample strength now to handle
a kite of this size.
Meanwhile, the Sled was having mixed success. Just
like the re-designed 2-Skewer Sled some days ago, the wind strength
was just a little too much for it while it was at its highest line
angles. The bamboo skewer taped down the center-line was doing a
great job preventing the leading edge from collapsing, the rest of
Near the ground, the wind meter recorded an
average of 4.3 kph and a max gust of 12.2 kph. Not much turbulence
perhaps, but it sure was gusty!
The story or stories above document actual flying experiences.
My write-ups are definitely warts-and-all since things don't always go totally as planned. However, half the fun of kiting is anticipating the perfect flight. When it happens, it's magic!
As mentioned earlier, there's more kite-making info here than you can poke a stick at :-)
Want to know the most convenient way of using it all?
The Big MBK E-book Bundle is a collection of downloads - printable PDF files which provide step-by-step instructions for many kites large and small...
Every kite in every MBK series.